DECAF BLEND: Bolivia & Honduras

DECAF BLEND: Bolivia & Honduras
 Location Gualme, Corquin, Copan, Honduras
Caranavi, Yungus, Bolivia
Altitude 1450 - 1650 masl
Varietal Caturra & Catuai
Decaf process Sparkling water method
Many small holders
Sweet and syrupy - think vanilla and cherry yoghurt.

The Honduran part of our decaf comes from producers situated in the Gualme area of Corquin, Copan. Gualme is a relatively high altitude area with temperature swings and high humidity. This means the coffee produced in this area has good acidity and complexity, but provides certain challenges in drying the beans. Producers in this area deliver their coffee to a centralised drying facility that our green bean suppliers helped implement, in collaboration with the Aruco cooperative in 2018. 

The Bolivian component of our decaf blend consists of three washed lots all situated in the Caranavi region, Yungus, where these farms utilise the Buena Vista mill in Caranavi, for processing and drying. The climate in Caranavi is very humid and is prone to long periods of rain, so the mill have started using mechanical air driers, which are temperature controlled boxes using warm air to dry the coffee over a number of days. This long drying time ensures that the coffee is stable and uniformly dried, which means it retains its flavours for longer.

The decaffeination process
1. The green beans enter a ‘pre-treatment’ vessel where they are cleaned and moistened with water before being brought into contact with pressurised liquid carbon dioxide. When the green coffee beans absorb the water, they expand and the pores are opened resulting in the caffeine molecules becoming mobile.

2. After the water has been added, the beans are then brought into contact with the pressurised liquid carbon dioxide which combines with the water to essentially form sparkling water. The carbon dioxide circulates through the beans and acts like a magnet, drawing out the mobile caffeine molecules.

3. The sparkling water then enters an evaporator which precipitates the caffeine rich carbon dioxide out of the water. The now caffeine free water is pumped back into the vessel for a new cycle.

4. This cycle is repeated until the required residual caffeine level is reached. Once this has happened, the circulation of carbon dioxide is stopped and the green beans are discharged into a drier.
5. The decaffeinated coffee is then gently dried until it reaches its original moisture content, after which it is ready for roasting.

There are several benefits to using this process for decaffeination:
• The agent used for extracting the caffeine is entirely natural and the process can be classified as ‘organic’ due to the complete lack of chemicals used throughout. There is also no health risk by consuming coffee that has been decaffeinated in this way.
• The way the process works means the other compounds in the green bean are left untouched, meaning decaffeination has no effect on the flavour and aroma of the finished product. The carbon dioxide is very selective and doesn’t extract the carbohydrates and proteins in the green bean which contribute to flavour and smell.
• The cell structure of the green bean and the finished roasted bean is unchanged which is of great advantage when working with speciality coffees.
• The by-products are 100% natural and recyclable.